While millions of people around the world wait in anticipation for Christmas morning, this time of year can be one of sadness for those who have experienced unimaginable loss.
This is the story of a Kingston woman who is finding some peace this holiday season, in helping those who were there during her darkest hours.
“It has been a very difficult journey to be honest”, says Jennifer Bellamy, “The beginning was a bit of a blur.
“As the beginning of a huge grief journey always is.”
In November of 2019, Bellamy and her partner Paul Davey, were expecting their first child — a daughter they named Addison.
At 38 and a half weeks, Bellamy went into labour.
“And we got to the hospital and heard the words no parent wants to hear”, says an emotional Bellamy. “They did the ultrasound and she had no heartbeat.
“We are not sure what exactly happened … a majority of stillbirths, you don’t know what happened.”
Through intensive therapy, Jennifer Bellamy pushed through and opened a small hair salon to honour her daughter in July, in the throes of a pandemic.
Bellamy named her shop Addison’s House of Hair.
Read more: Stillbirth and infant loss: Your stories
“I have been able to provide a safe space for my clients and myself. And I cannot tell you how many women I have met, who have also gone through loss”, says Bellamy.
“And that connection means everything to me.”
As part of her journey to healing, Bellamy, with the support of her partner, started a fundraising campaign to give back to the nurses and doctors who were with her at a time of great sadness and loss.
Bellamy has been donating 100 per cent of her tips for the month of December, leading up to Christmas Eve — a total of $1,000.
“One in four women go through loss,” says Bellamy, “And it is such a taboo subject that no one talks about.
“So to be able to bring this to light and say it’s okay to talk about it. It’s okay to honour her (Addison) … because she was real and she is as real as ever.”
On Thursday, Jennifer and Paul delivered their gift to the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation.
“We are about to donate a $1,000 to the KGH Maturity ward,” says an elated Bellamy, standing next to her partner, Paul Davey.
“I didn’t have a goal, but my heart is so full,” says Bellamy. “This is the best Christmas gift I could give or I could receive.”